Hard Feelings: Processing Trauma through Writing

23sep5:00 pm6:00 pmHard Feelings: Processing Trauma through WritingBrent LaPorte, Hollay Ghadery, Jacob Scheier, Moderator: Kathy Friedman

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Speakers for this event

  • Kathy Friedman

    Kathy Friedman


    KATHY FRIEDMAN is the author of the short story collection All the Shining People (House of Anansi, 2022), a finalist for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. She teaches in Humber College’s Bachelor of Creative and Professional Writing program and is the co-founder and artistic director of InkWell Workshops. Originally from Durban, South Africa, she now lives in Tkaronto


Event Details

For all that contemporary culture seems to have embraced the language of mental health, there are certain subjects that remain difficult to talk about. What subsets of mental health and mental illness are being overlooked in today’s conversations, and how can we bring them into focus? How should our understanding of mental health be evolving and transforming? How do we apply that new understanding to systems that support the mental health of our communities?

Moderated by writer Kathy Friedman.

Books featured:

ECW Books

Children who experience physical, mental, and emotional trauma at the hands of a parent often grow into adults who suffer from mental illness and find it difficult to build lasting, healthy relationships. Some find it impossible to integrate into society and are constantly searching for the love and approval that they never received as a child. The abuse impacts all aspects of the survivor’s life.

In his new memoir, Brent LaPorte asks his dead father questions that will never be answered. Unatoned not only explores the dark nature of LaPorte’s father, but the darkness that has, at times, enveloped him, too. In confronting life choices that have hurt those around him, he asks: is it possible to break the cycle of a violent, alcoholic family history and live a life that is productive, loving and, above all, happy?

In exploring the challenges of his youth, married life, and careers, LaPorte lays bare failings and triumphs, sharing pain and struggle to ultimately tell readers: none of us are alone. This is not a “self-help” book, rather the story of a man’s request for atonement for sins past. His father’s — and his own.

Guernica Editions

An awakening to the modern female biracial experience: A memoir of motherhood, mental health, and identity.

Painfully and at times reluctantly, Fuse probes and explores the documented prevalence of mental health issues in biracial women. Fuse has elements of memoir, but does not follow a traditional linear narrative. Rather, the book is a series of 15 meditations that probe different parts of Hollay Ghadery’s fractured biracial experience, including eating and anxiety disorders, self-mutilation, sex, motherhood, and the simultaneous allure and rejection of aesthetic beauty. In Fuse, Ghadery speaks to the struggle to construct a fluid identity in a world that wants to peg you down: what you are, and are not. While Ghadery’s experiences are personal, the issues surrounding the biracial identity are wide-spread; the number of mixed race marriages increases every year. Such a dialogue on the tensions surrounding the female biracial mind and body is long overdue.

Is This Scary?
ECW Books

A challenging exploration of mental illness and disability from Governor General’s Award winner Jacob Scheier.

Is This Scary? digs deep into internal landscapes of suffering, including depression and anxiety, chronic physical ailment, and rare neurological malady. With its many eccentric songs and odes to medications and medical procedures, this book is full of both levity and unapologetic lament. Pushing back against societal stigma, Is This Scary? unflinchingly addresses experiences of psychiatric institutionalization and suicidality, without either romanticizing or pathologizing them. Scheier rejects much of the mainstream cultural views of mental illness, subverting the biochemical model by emphasizing the radical subjectivity of mental suffering. While the poems render the difficulty of communicating pain to others, they defiantly celebrate its expression and evocation through visceral lyricism.


Accessible Captioning Sponsor: ECW Press


(Thursday) 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm